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25 JULY 2017

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Figueroa, Browne, and Kownacki Stop Foes in New York


By Jason Pribila: Ringside - Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New York On Saturday evening the PBC put on a fight card in Long Island, New York that was aired nationally on FOX. Airtime was secured from 8pm – 10pm EST and three fights were scheduled to air Live.

 

Omar Figueroa, Marcus Browne, and Adam Kownacki made sure that they took care of their business early so that the evening news could begin on time. In the main event, Omar Figueroa Jr. (27-0-1, 19 KO) took everything Robert Guerrero’s heart had left, before stopping him in round three. If ever there was a “must-win” in boxing, Guerrero was facing that when he entered the ring. He had lost three of his last four bouts, and four of his last six. While some losses were against the division’s elite, he has been slipping to the point that many felt that the man entering the ring on this evening was a “Ghost” of his old self.

 

Guerrero has been known to start slow, but on this evening he seemed eager to jump on Figueroa early. He landed cleanly to the head and body. His footwork was excellent, and he was in position to both lead and counter.

 

Figueroa’s seemed as if he had learned all he needed to in the opening frame, and he went on the offensive as soon as the second round began. A short left hook dropped Guerrero for the first of an eventual five trips to the canvas. Guerrero sprung to his feet after an 8-count, and immediately had Figueroa in trouble against the ropes. Once his flurry ended, Figueroa dropped Guerrero for the second time against the ropes. With only 10 seconds left, Figueroa scored his third knockdown in the round, but Guerrero beat the count.

 

With his career on the line, Guerrero’s heart led him on the attack for a final time. After scoring solid head shots and crowding Figueroa against the ropes, the Texas native landed a short left and Guerrero went down again. Somehow Guerrero rose on the legs that had abandoned him for the final time. Figueroa landed a body shot that appeared to be low. However, once Guerrero dropped again, referee Ron Lipton had seen enough and waved off the assault.

 

Figueroa dominated the biggest name on his resume in front of a national audience. He’s now in position to challenge any of the number of top welterweights who are currently looking for a dance partner. Former titlist Danny Garcia was ringside, but I don’t think that fight would make sense in the near future. Guerrero (33-6-1, 18 KO) climbed up the scale and earned more than he probably could have imagined. He is a likable person, and now may be the time he looks toward life after boxing.

 

In the evening’s co-feature Marcus Browne proved that not all undefeated records are equal. It took Browne less than two rounds to destroy popular fighter Seanie Monaghan in an all New York light heavyweight bout. Browne (20-0, 15 KO) dropped Monaghan (28-1, 17 KO) only seconds into the opening frame and he seemed to hurt his out-classed foe with almost every punch that he landed. A low blow dropped Monaghan again in the round, and the time he was given to recover was unfortunately the only time he wasn’t being dominated on this evening. When this fight card was announced many grumbled that this turf war was not slated as the Main Event. Perhaps those in the know had a feeling that this outcome was inevitable.

 

Boxing has a bad habit of burying a fighter after a single loss. However, on this occasion, I think it is safe to predict that Monaghan’s ceiling is that of a regional ticket seller. Many times when I’ve covered a fight card that included a heavyweight bout, it seemed as if the promoters weren’t sure where the bout could be buried. However, on this evening Artur Szpilka (26-3, 15 KO) and Adam Kownacki (16-0, 13 KO) kicked off the televised portion of the card. The Polish fight fans made their presence felt early in the evening. I had assumed that they bought their tickets to support Szpilka until I realized that Kownacki fought out of Brooklyn, New York and was clearly the crowd favorite. Early on Szpilka tried to use movement and his jab to keep the larger Kownacki at a distance. Unfortunately for Szpilka, landing an occasional jab was not enough from Kownacki walking him toward the ropes. Each time Szpilka’s back touched the ropes, he was also touched by Kownacki.

 

The raucous crowd finally had a reason to erupt during the final 30 seconds of Round 3. Kownacki landed a head shot that Szpilka tried to play off. Kownacki didn’t seem to care if Szpilka was hurt or not, he continued to fire shots to the head and body until the final bell saved Szpilka. The minute in between rounds was not enough time for Szpilka to recover. As Round 4 began, Kownacki immediately forced Szpilka to the ropes. He then methodically broke him down until two head shots forced referee Artur Mercante Jr. to wave off the bout at 1:37 of Round 4. The final CompuBox numbers reflected Kownacki’s dominance, as he more than doubled Szpilka in the total number of Power Punches landed (49-21). At the time of the stoppage ringside judges favored Kownacki on 8 of the 9 rounds scored.

 

Following the bout, Kownacki shared his thoughts on his biggest win to date. “I always knew that I had him. From the first shot I hit him in the body, I knew he didn’t have enough. My pressure was too much,” Kownacki added, “It took Deontay Wilder and Bryant Jennings a lot longer to get him out of there. Once I improve those aspects of my game I think that a lot of people are going to know me.” Bryant Jennings has signed with Top Rank and he is scheduled to end his ring hiatus soon. I think Jennings – Kownacki would be an attractive Battle if I-95 fighters sometime in 2018.

 

Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at pribs2000@gmail.com and followed on twitter.com @PribsBoxing.




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